Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic 2012 photo gallery by Andy Jones>>
Alexandre Blain (Endura) won the eighth edition of the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic on Sunday, almost two minutes ahead of Jamie Sparling (Team Raleigh-GAC) and James McCallum (Rapha-Condor-Sharp).
Attacking out of a whittled-down group of six riders with 30 kilometres to go, he crossed the finish line solo in Melton Mowbray, brandishing his bike like a trophy after crossing the line, like a mountain-biker.
It was a fitting celebration given the foul conditions. The race was held in a constant downpour, turning the lanes of Rutland into muddy rivulets.
Endura put five men in the initial, decisive 23-man split that formed on the opening, windswept lap of Rutland Water.
While the group chopped and changed composition as the race progressed, Blain broke clear of his companions on the Somerberg, and extended his lead.
"I'm very happy," Blain said. "I was so motivated, which is important in such bad weather."
This is Endura's tenth UCI win of the year, continuing their impressive spring. Former mountain biker Blain himself won the Tour of the Dengie Marshes four weeks ago in abjectly different conditions.
The challenging conditions, distance and competitive time cut-offs led to a high rate of attrition. Only 24 of the 155 starters finished the race.
Britain's only UCI-registered one-day race also had to be shortened from a planned 113 miles route to roughly 100, as the last lap of the A606 was taken out due to worsening conditions.
Behind Blain, Canadian rider Sparling (Raleigh-GAC) took second place, after breakaway companion James McCallum punctured in the closing kilometres.
For news and a full report from the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic, see the May 3 edition of Cycling Weekly.
8th Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic, 183 kilometres
1. Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura 4-36-33
2. Jamie Sparling (Can) Raleigh-GAC at 1-59
3. James McCallum (Gbr) Rapha-Condor-Sharp at 2-02
4. Tobias Erler (Aut) Arbo-Gebruder Weiss at 2-39
5. Yanto Barker (Gbr) Team UK Youth at 2-57
6. Pete Williams (Gbr) Node 4 - Giordana at 4-40
7. Wouter Sybrandy (Ned) IG-Sigma Sport at 5-30
8. Iker Camano (Spa) Endura Racing
9. Stephen Adams (Gbr) Cycle Premier-Kovert at 7-19
10. Rob Smail (Gbr) Team Wallis Cycles
King of the Hills: Jamie Sparling (Can) Raleigh-GAC
Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic 2012 photo gallery
Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic 2012: The Big Preview
Blain wins Maldon Dengie Tour
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